The following is a statement from Rhonda L. Lenton, president and vice-chancellor, York University and David Agnew, president, Seneca. It was issued on Oct. 23.
Late today, the provincial government informed us of its unexpected decision to cancel the development and related funding for post-secondary education satellite campuses in Ontario, including the recently announced Milton and Brampton campuses, as well as the York University and Seneca Markham Centre Campus project that has been underway since 2015.
York and Seneca’s joint bid was approved by the provincial government in May 2015 in recognition of the increasing demand for high-quality post-secondary education and workplace-based learning opportunities in York Region, one of the fastest growing major urban areas in Ontario.
A $127-million funding agreement between York University and Ontario triggered the start of the extensive work that has taken place since then to develop the programs, partnerships and building design. The City of Markham and York Region have committed land, additional funding and essential planning support for the new campus.
The $252-million Markham Centre Campus project is already well underway, with the design and development planning phase completed. The procurement process to secure a construction firm is nearing completion and construction was set to begin later this fall.
We have worked closely with our external partners – including the City of Markham, York Region, the provincial government and private-sector partners – to take the necessary steps to ensure the campus would be ready to welcome students into a suite of leading-edge, entrepreneurial and career-oriented programs in Fall 2021. We thank all our partners for their commitment and contributions, and for their unwavering support to bring this project home for York Region.
Given our combined view of the importance of this campus for the economic future of the Region and for the students who are seeking access to new higher education options close to home, we are committed to working with all involved to determine if there is a path forward that will still meet the post-secondary education needs of York Region and its residents.